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6 February 2024 · Tips N' Tricks

Driving With Pets

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Whether you’re taking your dog to the park, your cat to the vet, or an entire menagerie on a two-week road trip, it pays to be prepared when you’re travelling with pets. Here are our top five tips for making sure your critters cruise in comfort.

1. Strap them in

These days, none of us would dream of driving anywhere with humans not fully seat-belted, so why do we think it’s okay to travel with our pets not strapped in? Laws regarding restrained animals while driving are different around Australia, but it’s a good idea to keep your pet restrained using a dedicated harness or crate. It stops them from moving around and distracting the driver, prevents them from jumping out of a window, and protects them in case of an accident.

2. Ease them into it

If your pet hasn’t been in a car before, it’s probably best not to start them off with a trip across Australia. Ease them into it. If they are a reluctant car traveller, first get them used to just getting in the car (positive rewards such as treats and attention will lure a dog in; or give a cat some treats in its carrier).

Once they’re happy to be in there, start taking a few short trips (maybe to fun destinations; your dog will probably have better memories if you take them to the beach rather than the vet). Then build up to something longer. Try not to feed your pet just before a trip and give them some exercise beforehand to reduce stress. Nervous cats might benefit from pheromone sprays.

Your pet will thank you for having the windows down a little way to keep the air flowing. Dogs love all those smells and will want to stick their heads right out the window to hoover them up. However, allowing them to do this puts them at risk of injury. They could get a projectile in the eye, get hit by another vehicle, or fall or jump out of the car if they’re unrestrained. It can be a good idea to lock your windows so they don’t accidentally (or deliberately!) open them fully.

4. Take a travel pack

Be prepared. If you’re taking your pet on a road trip, make sure you’ve got all the necessities they might need. Their travel pack might include leads and harnesses, food and water bowls (and water), food and treats, and their favourite toy and bedding. And whatever you do, don’t forget the poop bags!

5. Never leave them unattended

A dog’s life can be at high risk within six minutes in a hot car. Temperatures in a parked car can quickly reach more than double the outside temperature, even on a mild day – even if the windows are left partly open, and even in the shade. So don’t risk it. Keep it simple: never leave your pet unattended in the car.

As an animal lover, you know that it's your responsibility as a pet owner to protect and care for the cute creature that gives you unconditional love. Sticking to these few simple actions will ensure your trip with your furry friend is safe and fun. It’s also the journey, not just the destination.